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Showing posts from June, 2013

When is a phone too big to be a phone?

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Over the years, we have continually changed our definition of what an acceptable screen size is for a smartphone. The original iPhone with a 3.5" screen was the gold standard in 2007, but in 2013 a 3.5" smartphone is just pitiful (sorry iPhone 4s-and-earlier owners). 4.3" was then the accepted size, then it grew to 4.7"-4.8", and now most flagships come with 5" screens and are well accepted. Samsung pushed the boundaries with the original Note, which surprisingly was a great success. Samsung proved that there are people who enjoy using large phones. As a result of this, many other manufacturers have joined the large smartphone market, most recently Sony. They recently unveiled the gargantuan 6.4" Xperia Z Ultra. That's just 0.6" smaller than a 7" tablet. If Samsung blurred the lines between phone and tablet, what Sony are now doing is borderline insanity. Has the smartphone market truly come to a "mine is bigger than yours" me…

App Spotlight, Episode 3 - Dropbox (cloud storage)

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Smartphones and tablets have really come a long way. They are now highly capable of performing almost every task the average consumer would use them for. Taking and viewing pictures, writing and editing documents, recording and watching videos, all can be done without a hitch. I view smartphones and tablets as more of an extension of our computers. Things we would usually do exclusively on our computers can now also be done on our mobile devices. While this is a great convenience for people who are always on the move and aren't always in front of their computers, it does pose another problem; file management. With so many different devices, how do we manage all our files? Do we constantly need to be plugging in our phones and tablets to our computers to copy and paste files? Do we need to email ourselves a document from our work computer so we can access it at home? What if we leave the house having forgotten to transfer a document into our tablet that we needed for work? We could…

How mobile technology is taking over

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Mobile technology has made so much progress this past decade or so. Things that we never thought would be possible to do on a mobile phone are now common features on all smartphones. Some of which we might even take for granted from time to time. Being able to do more things on our phones and tablets makes life easier. More convenient. Want to know tomorrow's weather? Check your phone. Want to know the score to last night's game? Check your phone. Need to convert ounces to grams for that recipe? Use your phone. Need to send an important letter to someone but don't have a scanner? Take a picture using your phone, make some adjustments and e-mail it from your phone. Need directions to some place? Use your phone. The possibilities are practically endless for what we can do using our mobile devices. What ever you think of, there's probably an app for that. But there have been some casualties along the way. For everything our phones "learn" to do, the old ways of …

Top 5: Why people keep hating on Apple

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Ever since I started taking an interest in the mobile industry about a year ago, I started realising that a lot of people hate Apple. I mean like, A LOT. I myself have had my fair share of rants and ridicules about Apple. I honestly try my best not to hate, but I keep being reminded of why I do. Does this imply that other companies are perfect and free from any flaws? Of course not. I've criticised Samsung for having too many devices in their portfolio. I've criticised HTC for not being aggressive enough in marketing their products. Even Google has made some really ridiculous mistakes in the past as well. But none of these companies receive as much criticism and hate as Apple.  We wanted Apple to redesign iOS. They did, but it was labelled confusing and inconsistent. We wanted Apple to include more functionality into iOS. They did, but it still wasn't enough. We wanted Apple to make iOS more like other platforms. They did, and were labelled copycats. Why is that? I have so…

WWDC 2013: Reminding me why I switched to Android

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I switched to Android in mid-2012 after almost 3 years of using iOS. I wrote about the reasons that prompted my switch and after seeing what Apple unveiled at this years WWDC, I'm more convinced than ever that I made the right decision. iOS has remained largely the same for 6 years. It has improved of course over the past 6 versions, adding a few features here and there along the way but it still looked the same. iOS 7 addressed that issue with a completely new design. New lock screen. New notification centre. New icons. New app interface. New colour schemes. A system-wide design revamp. If you're a long-time iOS user, you will definitely welcome the new design. Quite frankly, I'm glad Apple decided to chance the look of iOS. I would feel sorry for all iOS users if they were stuck with the same design for another year. Of course, if iOS was customisable like Android, this wouldn't be a problem, but I digress. Even with a complete redesign and added functionality like C…

App Spotlight, Episode 2 - SwiftKey

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Text input on mobile phones has come a long way. From the old T9 keypad to BlackBerry's world famous physical QWERTY keyboard to today's software QWERTY keyboards. While the technology has swiftly changed to fit with the current trend of capacitive touch screen smartphones, users have found the switch a little bumpy. Without a tangible typing experience, we practically need to be looking at our phones constantly as we type, as opposed to how it was back in the day. I could confidently type an SMS without looking at my phone thanks to a physical T9 keypad I could feel. I bet many long-time BB users could type just as easily as well. The removal of a tangible keypad has made blind typing (accurately) almost impossible. On small screens, typing can be a challenge due to closely spaced letters. Typing errors have become accepted as a normal occurrence when it comes to typing on a software keyboard. Embarrassing auto-corrected messages have spawned an entire genre of internet LOL m…

Life lessons from mobile games

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The gaming industry has taken a very significant shift these past 5 years. Console games and online games were once the pinnacle of gaming, but with the introduction of the iPhone in 2007 and the App Store in 2008, things started to change. Mobile games are now a gold mine for developers. With hundreds of millions of smartphones and tablets now being used worldwide, mobile games are much more lucrative than consoles and online gaming, which only appeals to certain demographics. Almost every household has smartphones and tablets, but not consoles. This is why major social gaming company Zynga recently laid-off 18% of their workforce, in an attempt to shift their focus from online games to mobile games. With mobile games becoming more and more common in our society, the criticisms over the negative influences these games have on people (especially kids) grow even stronger. I could debate these criticisms at length, but instead I'll take the opposite approach and give examples of how…

Samsung, why so many Galaxy's??

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One of the things Apple is frequently criticised for is a lack of options in their mobile line-up. At the other end of the spectrum however, Samsung are also being criticised; for having too many options. While I admit that choices are good, having too many can be downright confusing! Samsung have done brilliantly to lift Android up as the world's most used mobile OS. Their software customisations to Android although can be a bit heavy and overwhelming, has added great value to an otherwise "plain" operating system. Even so, the amount of devices they are producing is just mind-blowing. All the phones and tablets they put on the market is just crazy! Do you know how many Galaxy-branded phones were made in 2012? 19. Of those 19, how many do you think you can name? The Galaxy SIII. NoteII. SIII Mini. Galaxy Beam maybe? How about the Galaxy Rugby Pro? Do you remember that one? What about the other 14? Who can name them all?

The Nexus experiment

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I've been part of the Android community for just under a year now. My first Android-versary will be next month, a year after I bought my HTC One X. During my time in the community, I've noticed that while we are all united in our "fight" against the other OS, there's quite a bit of bickering within the community as well. For as long as I can remember, we have HTC fans arguing with Samsung fans. It usually boils down to arguments about build quality, the necessity for removable batteries and microSD cards, and of course, TouchWiz vs Sense. I try my best to not get involved in these civil wars because to me, these differences and these choices are what make Android great. Would you guys rather be part of that other OS and not have any choice at all? I think not. So I choose not to argue over what makes Android great, but I'm getting off topic here. With the introduction of the Google Edition Galaxy S4 at Google I/O 2013, and the Google Edition HTC One just a fe…